According to Euromonitor International’s latest research, global eyewear sales will reach USD142 billion in value terms in 2022, a significant rise of 20% compared with an unsurprisingly difficult year in 2020, owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a period of health fears, growth in eyewear in 2022 is being driven by consumers’ return to travel and socialising, and the inescapable momentum of e-commerce.
Despite this encouraging growth performance, however, there are key risk factors impacting the recovery of eyewear in 2022 that cannot be overlooked. Rising inflation and input costs, monetary tightening, logistics delays and labour challenges are all having an impact across the industry. In addition, there is the uncertainty caused by recent geopolitical events in Europe in relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Eyewear companies looking to unlock growth potential for their business will benefit from understanding some of the top global consumer trends taking place in 2022 that resonate specifically in the eyewear industry, and how businesses outside the industry have been responding to these trends. Of these top 10 global consumer trends, three that stand out for eyewear businesses are Climate Changers looking to reduce their impact on the environment, Digital Seniors becoming more comfortable with technology and The Metaverse Movement, that sees consumers embracing immersive digital worlds for experiences.
Source: Euromonitor International
- Connecting with the consumer through climate change
A focus on climate change is just one of the routes that will help eyewear businesses to connect with the eyewear consumer in the post-pandemic age. Climate Changers are consumers looking to reduce their impact on the climate, through choosing low-carbon diets, more energy-efficient homes, and sustainable travel.
According to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles survey 2022, some 66% of global respondents say they are worried about climate change. The highest proportion of these are millennials, with 43% agreeing that they are concerned about climate issues. Millennials is indeed an important generation that must be paid attention in the eyewear space. According to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition survey, fielded in 2021, millennials represent over a third of global respondents who wear sunglasses, ahead of generation Z, with less than 25%.
To stay competitive in the eyewear space, businesses should invest in products and services that will help consumers reduce their carbon footprint. For example, UK digital apparel brand Pangaia has launched sunglasses using CO2 polycarbonate lenses.
Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles survey 2022, fielded January to February 2022
- Digital Seniors – a force to be reckoned with
Another consumer type whose attention eyewear players need to capture is Digital Seniors. According to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles survey 2022, nearly 50% of respondents aged 60+ are browsing online daily, while nearly 40% of consumers visit a social networking website daily. A force to be reckoned with, eyewear players cannot ignore the biggest demographic factor in eyewear, the older population. This group also has strong buying power. Born between 1928 and 1980, gen X, baby boomers, and the silent generation account for over a third of the total global population, often in need of eyewear solutions for presbyopia (long-sightedness occurring typically in middle and old age). This is now a consumer group that is becoming more comfortable with technology, and adopting digital solutions that help them with their everyday lives.
Eyewear companies will need to adapt and simplify digital devices and experiences. The UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is a case in point. The association has created a “Getting Interested in Technology” series of six tutorials on YouTube, essentially to assist people with sight loss. Eyewear companies could partner with such associations to offer support to elderly consumers on how to get online, whilst raising their brand profile at the same time.
Daily Online Activities for Consumers Aged 60+ in 2022
Source: Euromonitor International's Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles survey 2022, fielded January to February 2022
- Embracing the metaverse will be crucial for eyewear players
Finally, a trend that is seeing fast and furious development. The Metaverse Movement sees young tech-savvy consumers, in particular generation Z and millennials, embracing immersive digital worlds for socialising and experiences. Pioneering brands, such as Italy’s Gucci in fashion and Malaysia’s Tiger Beer in alcoholic drinks, are moving into the metaverse and experimenting with ways to connect with these consumers in the virtual space. In May 2021, Gucci hosted a virtual space on the game platform Roblox. Users could purchase Gucci virtual items directly in the space for their avatars to wear. There is no reason why eyewear fashion brands should not be sold through a similar platform. Promoted as the gateway to the metaverse, smart glasses have also slowly been gaining traction in eyewear, whilst bringing technical and legal challenges with them along the way.
Consumers Who Have Used VR in 2022Source: Euromonitor International's Voice of the Consumer: Digital survey 2022, fielded March to April 2022
The eyewear industry would do well to learn from other industries, such as fashion, alcoholic drinks and consumer health, when relating to Climate Changers, Digital Seniors, and The Metaverse Movement, and stop relying on traditional methods to reach young tech-savvy consumers and the elderly cohort.
Find out more about how our Global Consumer Trends, including The Socialisation Paradox and Self-Love Seekers, are affecting the eyewear industry, in our briefing Global Consumer Trends in Eyewear.